Between these two restaurants, Filipinos may think of Yabu as the original Katsu house, but Ginza Bairin has a history dating all the way back to 1927 in Japan. Its logo, with the unfortunately oblivious pig, proudly displays the fact.
That’s great and all, but to me, what’s important are the taste and service 🙂
To make the comparison with Yabu, I ordered Bairin’s Rosu (pork loin) tonkatsu set, a regular serving of which weighed 100g (the staff informed us) and is priced at P345. (Yabu’s 120g Rosu set is P355.) It comes with an unlimited serving of brown rice tea, miso soup, cabbage salad, japanese pickles, and some slices of pineapple.
I think I like Bairin’s version better—its breading is finer and crunchier, giving the meat a more exciting taste and texture. Speaking of the meat, my company and I found it leaner too, and it was nicely firm and tender.
The dressing for the cabbage salad came in only two variants: wasabi shoyu and roasted sesame. The former, with its spicy-sweet kick, was good enough for me to pass on the latter.
For the cabbage itself, I think Yabu’s have this hands down—I’m always in awe of how beautifully shredded (and glistening) theirs are, though quality-wise, there’s no difference with Bairin’s.
In terms of service, the staff of Bairin’s was more active in offering us another serving of its unlimited offerings, though this is most probably because the restaurant is smaller than Yabu’s and there weren’t that many people when we were dining (Monday night, a holiday, around 9pm). I think I’ll need to come back more (there’s definitely reason to) to give a more definitive judgement on this.
Overall, there’s absolutely good competition going on between these two katsu restaurants, and guess who ends up the winner?
Ground Floor, Glorietta 2
Palm drive, Ayala center, Makati City
+63 2 553 7350